When Elle Carr, a Turkish-American living in New York City, heard that the deputy prime minister of Turkey, Bulent Arinc, stated that women “should not laugh loudly in front of all the world and should preserve her decency at all times,“ she was in shock.
“I thought it was laughable—there are so many more important women’s issues to be concerned about in Turkey right now—domestic violence, honor killings—and it made me actually laugh out loud in shock that he would make such a statement,” she says. “And to include his comment in a general speech on moral corruption was even more ludicrous.”
But women, including Carr, are having the last laugh.
Arinc’s statement created a social media uproar, which ended up having the opposite effect of what he was hoping for: Women in Turkey started posting selfies while laughing on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, many with the hashtag “#direnkahkaha“—”diren” means “resist” in Turkish, while “kahkaha” is exactly what it sounds like, a hearty laugh.
And as we all know, laughter is contagious (not to mention good for you) so selfies of women laughing all over the world soon followed. “I decided to post a selfie laughing in solidarity with my sisters in Turkey and captioned it in Turkish ‘with support from NY, let’s all laugh together heartily and loudly, girls!'” says Carr. “I am known to laugh easily and joyfully at many moments, and to think that someone could possibly think that they could get me to stop that is ridiculous. And terrifying, too.”
Adds Carr, “There are a lot of horrible things happening in the world these days, and we need all the laughter we can get. It has been really great going to the #direnkahkaha hashtag on social media and seeing so many joyous faces.”
Deputy Prime Minister, the LOL is on you.